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eLearning Research Centre launched


UKeU, the UK government-backed company set up to provide online degrees from UK universities to students worldwide, has announced a new venture with the Universities of Manchester and Southampton.

The three organisations will jointly host the new eLearning Research Centre, which is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

The aim of the Research Centre is to establish a leading centre of excellence, with an international reputation, to support the enhancement of e-learning within the Higher Education sector.

The research centre will be formed of three sites - one at Manchester, one at Southampton and one at UKeU in London. The sites will be staffed by a project manager at UKeU and two researchers at each of the Universities of Manchester and Southampton. Furthermore, UKeU and each university will provide a director and second academic contact. Professor Paul Bacsich, director of special projects will undertake this role on behalf of UKeU.

John Beaumont, chief executive officer, UKeU said, “We are very excited by this new initiative which brings UKeU even closer to its stakeholders. The use of eLearning in higher education raises a complex set of research questions, with direct relevance to the activities of organisations such as UKeU and our partnering institutions. Through its applied research projects, particularly the monitoring and evaluation of the student eLearning experience, the Research Centre will help raise the understanding of and debate about eLearning, which will continue to evolve over the coming years. It is essential that we better comprehend how to improve the students’ online experience."

Dr James Petch, head of distributed learning at The University of Manchester, and co-director of the Research Centre, said, “The first task of the new research centre will be a three year programme which will set up a series of monitoring and evaluation studies based on the UKeU Learning Environment and other platforms, coupled with a series of research studies exploring the pedagogical and process aspects of eLearning. The centre will engage in a continuous and active process of dissemination and the development of collaborative partnerships.”
coordination with UKeU staff.

UK eUniversities Worldwide (UKeU) was established in May 2001, with UK Government backing, to market and support the online provision of degree courses from UK universities to students outside of the UK and businesses worldwide. UKeU also has a mandate to help widen access to higher education in the UK.


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